Technicians from the Nature Protection Service (Seprona) of the Civil Guard detected for the first time a wide extension of one of the most harmful invasive plants, the camalote or water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), in a channel of the Guadalquivir river in Seville .
The camalote is considered one of the most dangerous invasive exotic plants (IAS) in the world: it has colonized a very important part of Lake Victoria, in Africa, preventing its navigation; It has been uncontrollable in the number of wetlands in the United States, and in the Guadiana, it has required investments of more than 50 million euros for its eradication since 2014.
This specimen came from South Americato be marketed as an ornamental plant for ponds for its bright green floating leaves that are covered with showy pink or purple flowers between the months of March and July.
The problem comes with its release and very rapid spread in the natural environment, where it covers the aquatic surfaces preventing light from reaching it, which suffocates the native flora and fauna, in addition to obstructing irrigation canals and making navigation difficult or impossible, among other damages. . The marketing or release of camalote is prohibited in Spain.

The camalote and its difficult eradication

At the moment, there is no herbicide registered or authorized for use in the aquatic environment and the natural product patented by the University of Extremadura“it is not suitable” for the camalote, which it only weakens and leaves floating, which also forces its withdrawal.
The plant was widely used as an ornamental species in aquaculture and gardening, so it is most likely that it was deposited in rivers by individuals, although in other places where it has appeared it is taken into account that its seeds could also have been mixed with seeds. of imported rice.
The water hyacinth has been part of the European list of invasive exotic species since 2016, whose introduction, reproduction, cultivation, transport, purchase, sale, possession or intentional or negligent release are expressly prohibited.
It is a great competitor since no other aquatic plantit survives in these conditions of lack of light and, in turn, the absence of oxygen displaces the native fauna in favor of some invasive species that, due to its great capacity for survival, manages to prosper in these conditions.

First appearance in the Guadalquivir

The camalote has been detected in a perimeter of seven or eight kilometers from the dock or channel of Alfonso XIII, in Seville, especially in the connection of the port area with the river.
The professor of Plant Biology and Ecology at the University of Seville Pablo Garcia Murillo confirmed to the Seprona agents that his discovery in the Guadalquivir last week corresponded to this dangerous invasive aquatic plant, which has already wreaked havoc in the Guadiana.
After confirming that it is indeed this invasive aquatic plant, native to South America, Seprona agents have begun to remove it in collaboration with technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development of Andalusia.
Throughout this same morning, approximately 100 kilos of this invasive plant have been removed and, they calculate, at least another 500 remain to
be removed. Approximately 100 kilos of this invasive plant have been removed and, they calculate, at least another 500 remain to be removed
Given the enormous dispersal capacity of the camalote, whose seeds can remain and sprout in the aquatic sediment up to twenty-seven years after being deposited, agents and technicians consulted have explained that follow-up will have to be done to avoid another possible colonization and expansion in the Guadalquivir, where had not been detected until now.

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